Day 320. 109km. Bukit Peninjauan – Pasar Pino

Posted: March 9, 2016 in Cycling, Indonesia
Tags: , , , ,

‘What do the people do in your village,’ Ad asked Clement. Clement lived in a little village in France near the Swiss border.
‘Do the peasants around the village have enough to eat?’
‘Things are so much better here in Indonesia since the palm oil plantations. People have jobs, and people have enough to eat. The plantations are good!’

Cycling in the palm plantations

Cycling in the palm plantations

We are often asked how much we earn and how much the bikes are worth. The amounts seem ridiculous here. I now say my bike is one tenth of the true price, and I am still met with comments of how expensive it is. Prices are different in the west, and so is life in general. Today we were invited to stay with the English teacher of the local school. His English was excellent, and we could have in-depth conversations, which led to interesting questions and interesting perspectives. For westerners, of course everyone in the village has enough to eat. Also, for westeners, palm plantations are evil – for the environment and concentration of wealth amongst the wealthy. The forests of Europe were cut down many years ago, so the evil from that has passed.

Today we passed the stretch of road for fruit sellers. Everyone was selling exactly the same fruit. Then, ten kilometres down the road, we passed the stretch of road of people selling four different kinds of fried food – and nothing else. No fruit sellers here. This seems quite a common thing. A few days ago we passed stretches of road with people selling big fluffy toys. A mixture of sellers with varying wares seems quite unheard-of here.

Fried food sellers

Fried food sellers

While at the stretch for fried food sellers, Clement realised that someone had stolen almost a million rupiah from his wallet (about 50 euros). We spent a long time thinking back to when it could have happened. After all this thought, we were none-the-wiser. Such an unexpected and atypical thing for Indonesia.

After an initial stretch this morning along a soft sandy path through the palm plantations, we returned to the road on the edge of the mountains that twisted and turned, constantly rising and falling. We contemplated the different kinds of road: mountain roads are very steep, but have amazing views, and are cooler, being at higher altitude. Roads back from the coast are hot and constantly up and down, but have a good road surface. Roads along the coast are straight and flat, but have a crap road surface. Then, if a road is flat, straight and has a good road surface, there is lots of traffic. A mixture of roads is the key!

  1. psicotony says:

    Something similar happened to us on Laos (some money “disappeared”) and roads where promised to us as “bikers heaven” and ended pretty much as you describe them too.
    In the end we caught really bad weather, and all added towards a situation where we decided to just jump to the next country (thailand) that we where expecting to cycle on.
    Now that I am a bit wiser (maybe, or maybe is just the calmness of reviewing things from a distance) I would have had a more relaxed approach. I am sure we missed things great on Laos.
    In the other hand, it is not that I regret it, it just felt the right thing on the moment. Indonesia reminds me more of a hard(er) country that what I read from your posts, which gives me a window to other ways of viewing the country, and expands a bit my view on it, so thanks for that.
    Have fun, enjoy a lot, and be careful. It is a country where maintenance seems to be a myth (which was our biggest concern in the end, hoping for a boat to not sink etc. haha Fun maybe 🙂 ).

    Cheers, and thanks for the reading!

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